COVID-19 Information for the UC Santa Barbara Campus

Last updated: June 19, 2020

UC Santa Barbara‘s Response to the Global Pandemic

Campus officials continue to work closely with the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department and with the UC Office of the President to provide our community with the most current information regarding the global COVID-19 pandemic. The university has in place a COVID-19 working group and a pandemic response team to adapt to the situation as it evolves.

Students and employees are encouraged to consult with their health care providers and to obtain additional information from the California Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control COVID-19 websites.

In an effort to minimize the risk of exposure in our community and to assist members of our campus community in managing the challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, the university is taking a number of actions. These and other important related topics are highlighted in communications to the campus community:

  • COVID-19 Budget Impacts. The COVID-19 crisis and its accompanying uncertainties have profoundly impacted the financial health of universities across the country, including UC Santa Barbara. A number of steps are being taken to preserve the campus’s fiscal health. Details may be found in the Chancellor’s July 17 Campus COVID-19 Update: Addressing Budget Impacts.
  • COVID-19 Confirmed Case Notification. As additional cases of COVID-19 are identified within the campus community, University health officials are establishing protocols for sharing information with faculty, staff and students. Details may be found in the Chancellor’s June 27 Campus COVID Case Notifications.
  • Research Ramp-Up. Campus research activities are gradually resuming, following a cessation due to COVID-19. The Office of Research has provided comprehensive guidelines. More details may be found on The Current.
  • Fall quarter planning. The campus has announced preliminary plans for the upcoming fall quarter, including undergraduate and graduate instruction, campus housing, campus life, new-student orientation and more. Details may be found in the Chancellor’s June 18 COVID-19 Update: Fall Planning.
  • Remote instruction for Summer Sessions. In consultation with campus health experts, faculty, students and key stakeholders, and with the agreement of the Academic Senate, the decision has been made to transition all Summer Sessions courses and programs to remote delivery. More information can be found in the Chancellor’s April 13 COVID-19 Update: Summer Sessions and on the Summer Sessions’ website.
  • UCSB Response Fund. To assist those in our campus community who have been impacted personally and/or economically by COVID-19, the UCSB Response Fund has been established. Gifts to the fund help the university address existing and emerging critical needs of our students, faculty and staff, including assistance for students’ continued education, operations that support our teaching mission and the platform to advance crucial research around COVID-19. Learn more about our philanthropic effort.
  • Library Offers Access to Scholarly Materials. The UC Santa Barbara Library offers pickup and mail delivery services for faculty, researchers and graduate students seeking to access circulating Library research materials. These services will be extended to undergraduate students and staff later this summer. Details may be found here.
  • Closures/Limited Hours. While the campus remains open, many units have curtailed their activities or limited their hours of operation. Contact individual departments, units and organizations directly for their availability and hours of operation.

The UC Office of the President is monitoring the situation as it unfolds in California and around the globe and is also providing regular updates.

The campus community is being updated through Student Health Services as new information is learned about COVID-19. In addition, a variety of COVID-19-related research and news features can be found on The Current, and the Office of International Students and Scholars is providing information as well.

Questions about COVID-19?

If you have questions about COVID-19 or think you might have been exposed, please visit the Student Health website for guidance, contact information and resources.

Visit Student Health


COVID-19 Symptoms and Prevention

Symptoms of COVID-19 may appear 2-14 days after exposure. These include fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. Any student who suspects they have influenza or coronavirus should contact Student Health Services. Faculty and staff members should contact primary health care providers.

Seek medical attention immediately if you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19. These include trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion or inability to arouse or bluish lips or face. Note: This list is not inclusive. Consult your health care provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning.

The virus that causes COVID-19 is thought to spread mainly from person to person. Recent studies indicate people who are infected but do not have symptoms likely play a role in the spread of COVID-19. 

There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19, and the best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to the virus. The CDC recommends the following safety precautions:

  • Practice physical distancing. Keep a physical distance between yourself and other people outside of your home. That means:
    • Stay at least 6 feet from other people
    • Do not congregate in groups
    • Avoid crowded places and mass gatherings
  • Use face coverings. The CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain, whether or not you have upper respiratory symptoms. Cloth face coverings should:
    • fit snuggly but comfortably against the side of the face
    • be secured with ties or ear loops
    • include multiple layers of fabric
    • allow for breathing without restriction
    • be able to be laundered and machine dried without damage or change to shape.
  • Clean your hands frequently.
    • Wash your hands often with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds, especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.
    • If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.

Also, it’s strongly recommended that everyone gets a seasonal flu vaccination as soon as it becomes available (typically in late August or early September). Many COVID-19 and flu symptoms overlap, which can make appropriate isolation and contact tracing more complicated. Furthermore, preventing an influenza outbreak in the fall can help ensure that healthcare resources remain readily available to respond to COVID-19. 

Reporting a Positive Test Result

Campus community members who would like to report a positive test result should notify the campus COVID-19 Clinical Advisor at or (805) 893-3113.

The Clinical Advisor will:

  • Notify the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department to ensure officials are aware of the case 
  • Help identify close contacts
  • Advise and help prepare notifications to potentially affected campus community members
  • Work with EH&S to determine cleaning procedures and establish time frames for resuming operations

Additional information and resources related to reporting, including a checklist for responding, is available on our Reporting COVID-19 page.

Campus COVID-19 Case Counts

Campus health officials work in collaboration with the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department to help identify those campus community members who may have been exposed through close contact and to follow up with them regarding appropriate actions and to issue localized notifications when appropriate. 

UC Santa Barbara has 2 reported positive COVID-19 cases currently completing the required isolation period. In accordance with health privacy laws, we cannot disclose personal or identifying information about the individuals who have tested positive. 

Case 1: Campus Staff Member
Case 2: Campus Staff Member

This site reflects only those COVID cases that are reported to and confirmed by campus officials AND involve individuals who either live in campus housing or are working or conducting research on campus.
The University has limited information regarding cases in the adjacent community of Isla Vista. Privacy restrictions limit the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department's notification to campus officials about cases that occur in any off-campus location.

Information about all COVID-19 cases within Santa Barbara County is available at the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department’s website.

What Should I Do if I Think I Have Coronavirus

Anyone in our campus community who suspects they have influenza or coronavirus should stay home. Students should call Student Health Services, or their primary health care provider, prior to arriving at the medical office. This will allow us to provide you with information regarding your illness and to plan for your visit to the clinic, if necessary. Faculty and staff members should contact their provider for additional instructions about seeking care.

Preventative actions help mitigate the spread of respiratory diseases. Based on guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Student Health Services has developed additional screening and has implemented additional protocols to help identify possible cases of coronavirus to provide optimal care for those with symptoms and to protect other patients and staff.

UC Santa Barbara students should call Student Health Services at (805) 893-7129 to speak with an advice nurse. Faculty and staff members should call their health care providers immediately for care.

Counseling and Community

Some members of our campus community may be affected by the virus without themselves being sick. The news, and especially the uncertainty, can feel very scary. Some also also have concerns regarding family members and friends in other areas who are sick or who are at increased risk.

We want to help if you are struggling. Students can call Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) at (805) 893-4411 to schedule an appointment with a counselor or to hear more about counseling resources on campus. After-Hours Phone Counseling also is available at that number.

Faculty and staff members can contact the Academic and Staff Assistance Program (ASAP) at (905) 893-3318.

We also should come together as a campus to reject any xenophobia, bigotry or racism brought about by the virus.

Travel Advisory

Regularly updated COVID-19 travel advisories are available from the UC Office of the President. Policies on travel to countries affected by COVID-19 will reflect the assessments of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization and the U.S. Department of State.

The University is recommending against all non-essential University-related travel, international and domestic, for UC Santa Barbara employees. This guidance is in addition to current UC systemwide restrictions already in place to CDC Level 3 (widespread community transmission) and Level 2 (sustained community transmission) countries. See the CDC’s Coronavirus Disease 2019 Information for Travel.

Any employees who do travel for business are reminded to register their trips, which is required by UC Santa Barbara policy and provides customized, real-time travel updates and alerts.

Relevant Links

Additional Information for Staff, Faculty, and Students

Other Resources